One of our regular customers to our Melton Store is up and coming, 19 year old young event rider, Constance Copestake. Based in South Lincolnshire and with a string of horses, Constance has taken the time to share her eventing experience with us.
Constance started riding at 4 after becoming hooked following a friend's birthday party at the local riding school. Her first pony Charlie soon followed. Charlie was always mischievous but this meant that Constance developed a secure seat and learnt to sit to something that bucked!
The following years saw Constance competing on the Pony Trial circuit. By 2011 Constance moved on to her first horse. Millie stood at 15.2hh, although she is described as thinking that she was 17hh and could take on the world! Millie took Constance to her first ever competition abroad at Haras du Pin, to compete for the CIC1*.
Constance also had success producing a young horse, finishing the season with a win at Aldon International in the CIC1* class, aged just 16. However, Constance suffered a mayor blow when horse Millie damaged a hind suspensory after getting cast in the stable and, unfortunately, had to be put down.
In 2013 Constance continued competing and established herself and her horses at Novice/1* level, coming 4th in her first intermediate at Richmond.
By 2014 Constance was competing her final year as a junior rider. A successful year saw Constance being long listed for the European Championships. However, their final trial at Aston Le Walls OIu21, saw things go downhill. Her horse got hot headed in the start box for the cross country, and reared up, hitting Constance in the head. The doctor decided it was best for Constance to withdraw; this cost her potential selection for the Europeans. It was a real disappointment for the pair and ended with Constance exploring her options in France. She received an invitation to train for a few days during winter with the French Elite Squad, at the home of the National Federation, and she jumped at the opportunity. After an amazing experience she took the plunge, changed nationality and hasn't looked back since!
2015 was a fantastic year with Constance stepping up 2* level with her horse Apple. Success with Apple led to the pair being selected for the Young Rider Europeans in Poland. Constance was thrilled and credits the success to her support team. After sitting in double bronze after the dressage in Poland, Constance took a tumble cross country. Thankfully Apple was unharmed and the pair lived to fight another day. Despite this setback Constance says it was a positive learning experience and she had great fun. Constance also had great results in 2015 with some of her younger horses and has spent some time training in Normandy with a French 4* rider.
Looking ahead for this season, her main aims are to become established at 2* level with her three top horses and to contest in a few advanced competitions towards the end of the season. All being well Constance hopes to go to France to compete on the profession circuit; targeting the advanced at Le Lion D’Angers and afterwards the U21 Championships at Haras du Pin.
Constance competing on 2 of her horses at Richmond:
We found a little more out about Constance:
Which horse inspired you the most and why?:
Smokey Joe my second pony who was a complete legend! He's the reason for my love of cross country and the reason I knew I wanted to event.
How many horses do you currently have:
At the moment I have 5 fantastic horses:
- APROBANTA – Advanced mare 11 years old
- TEA TIME D’ALROBEN – Advanced mare 9 years old
- DENVER – Intermediate 8 year old gelding
- EL KOLIBRI – 7 year old Novice / Intermediate gelding
- ELTON H – 7 year old Novice gelding
Describe your daily routine with your horses:
I get up and feed each morning at 7. Work on the yard starts at 8, we turn the horses out and then get all the yard work sorted. After that the horses come in and then get worked. We have a couple of horses that live out at night to help calm them down, so they come in during the day. Usually we get most things finished by lunch/early afternoon. I finish things like tack cleaning in the afternoon before evening stables get done. Routine is so important for the horses, so we try and stick to it as closely as we can when we are away at competitions.
What do you feed your horses?:
My horses are all fed on Saracen Horse Feeds. Their products keep the horses in top condition, enabling them to perform at their best. Their customer service is second to none and we get such good advice from them.
What is your must have piece of kit?:
My Equiline tailcoat, which was sourced last minute for me last summer for the Young Rider European Championships by Wendy at the Melton store. I love wearing it at the big events as its super smart and I’ve always (so far) seemed to get a good test whilst wearing it!
Are there any rituals you have before competing?:
I’m a little bit superstitious, so I never wear anything new at a competition. I have to wear it at home first otherwise it's bad luck. This also applies to the horses like new numnahs or rugs.
What do you think is the best part of eventing?:
Having to master three disciplines. The sport has moved on so much and you have to dressage like a dressage rider, show jump like a show jumper and be quick and accurate cross country. The venues also play a big part and we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to compete at venues like Chatsworth, Blenheim, Bramham, Burghley etc. It's something that every rider dreams of.
Who is your eventing hero:
Pippa Funnel was (and still is) a huge inspiration when I was younger and Michael Jung is a huge hero of mine, he is just unbeatable! The fact that he won Burghley and the Senior Europeans with a broken leg is unreal, surely he can’t be human?
What is your secret weapon?:
My ArcEquine machine, which I use extensively on the horses. It’s a fantastic piece of kit and it goes with me to every event.